Sunday, December 14, 2008

Love Birds

This is how I have spent my week...
Hunched over a quilting frame, needle in hand. I really need to figure out the whole free motion quilting thing. A New Years Resolution perhaps?

This quilt was for my brother Kevin and his wife Jamie who were married on December 6th. My brother is a bird watcher - he's always pointing out and naming the different species of our winged friends (such a geek :)). I really wanted to incorporate birds in the quilt, but I was having a hard time finding bird fabric that wasn't girly or pastel. I finally found the new Tranquility line of fabric by Sandy Gervais. There was a problem - it wasn't available until the week of Thanksgiving. I waited and waited, checking online everyday. Finally it was available and ordered. My new goal: to have it done by the time they returned from their honeymoon (today!!). Man did I ever turbo-quilt this bad boy, and I have the sore shoulders, fingers and blood shot eyes to prove it. Here is the quilt top all spread out measuring 71" x 80" (before quilting)...
And all finished...
I'll admit the two love birds in the middle are a little wacky, but I just couldn't resist. It's a wedding quilt after all. They look super cool all quilted on the back...

Some funky pinwheels made from 2 packs of charms squares and muslin. The small square border was another charm square pack cut into quarters...

The super soft & warm backing (queen sized mircofleece sheet), and binding. I always love the binding on a quilt.

A personal touch. Embroidered initials and a little a LSF action... Love Sick Fools. They are self proclaimed Love Sick Fools, and I have to say I concur with their accurate self diagnosis. It's fun to see such twitterpation in action.
I love seeing a quilt all folded up. There are a few different versions of this...

And I found it irresistible shoved in the too small gift bag, all the colors swirled together...
So very GLAD it's done!!! I'm looking forward to hitting the sack before 1 a.m. It's definitely an original - I hope they like it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chemo Comfort

I know I am on a blogging break, and nobody is reading, but I thought I would still post my projects on here for my own benefit. Especially the ones I give away as gifts, so I can document and remember.

Here is a little something my friend Pamela and I worked on in October...

We wanted to do something for our friend, going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. We found a design that we both liked and went shopping together for the fabric. Pamela did the piece work on the quilt top and the flower applique and I did the hand quilting, embroidery (one of J's favorite scriptures) and made & attached the binding, and Pamela hand stitched it down. Such a soft, pretty quilt - comfort colors.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The fence

To blog, or not to blog...
I’ve been on the fence about this one for a while (wish it were the above fence - actually that probably wouldn't feel so good, but I would enjoy the view), and I have finally made up my mind - I am closing shop (for a while, anyway). When I am able to squeeze in a little bit of blogging time, I have mostly been trying to concentrate on our family blog. But then I start to feel sorry for this neglected (albeit rather silly) little blog. I would love to have it be full of all sorts of lovely, crafty things, but let's get real. I can hardly stay caught up on laundry, let alone be doing a slew of cool creative projects in my spare time. As long as it is open, I will want to play, so I have decided the best way to resist the temptation is by putting it away. Thanks to all who came to visit and left me kind comments!

Delightful Diapering?

OK, the name of this post was just a teaser (as well as an oxymoron). In all my diapering experience (4 kids worth), I have never considered the task to be delightful. However on this last go around, I have been delighted with our changing table. It was part of a vintage dresser/desk set that we found in the online classifieds. We painted both pieces white with a brush (this was before we had discovered spray paint), and they turned out pretty good, & for much less $ than the sets at the furniture store.

I made a slip cover for the old changing table pad with some of the extra fabric squares I had cut out when making the crib quilt (I must have way over-cut). One thing I have noticed about the 4th child is the abundance of hand-me downs. Lil' sis even inherited a hand-me-down nursery palette from her older sister. Lavender and aqua, because that's what I had the most of in my fabric stash when I was doing all of my frantic last minute nesting.

I have enjoyed storing the diapers and other diapering gear in these ornately detailed drawers.
However, this has been my favorite view of all...
The sad thing is this picture was taken 4 months ago and she is way too squirmy now for this to work. The days of delightful diapering have come and gone!
I wish they didn't grow so fast! I am feeling guilty for complaining in my last post. I know the time will come when I will even miss the crazy days!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Who's that girl?

Do you recognize this girl?
I know her. The first time I saw this Mary Engelbreit gem in a Home Companion magazine, I immediately saw my six year old daughter staring back at me. When I showed it to her, she laughed. She too, recognized a little bit of her own feisty spirit. The more I look at it, the more I see a bit of myself. There are days when I probably wear a similar expression. Days when I need an attitude adjustment of my own. Motherhood has been intense lately. My oldest 2 have been on a school break for the past 3 weeks (year round). It’s always nice at first - sleeping in, no homework, no rushing about. Not so nice at this point. If they would all just get along it would be a different story, but they like to bug each other when they're bored. And to top it off, my two youngest have both been up a lot during the night. Being sleep deprived does not increase my patience. I feel like I’m up to my knees in frazzled mom quicksand and the only thing that will keep me from being swallowed whole is school starting back up on Monday morning. So until that blissful moment next week when sanity is restored, this feisty girl will be my reminder to lighten up.

I've been trying to make progress on my latest quilt, but it's coming along rather slowly. Hmm. I wonder why.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Colorful Gratitude

I know I am a few weeks early to be doing a post on gratitude, but every time I go outside I am grateful. Grateful for changing seasons.

I am grateful to have a yard alive with color (this bush really is that red).
I am grateful for trees, always grateful for trees.

Leaves too.

I am grateful for mums. No explanation necessary.

I am grateful for the bounty of the season - pumpkins included.
I am grateful for the good times had while searching for "Jack".
I am grateful the weather has been nice and my kids haven’t been stuck inside with cabin fever. Instead, they have been busy playing in the mud.

Burying each other in piles of leaves (one of my hooligans is hiding in this picture).
And busy making witches brew. They can do this for hours. Love the rotten apple & plums - very nice touch. Anything that can capture their attention for long periods of time makes me especially grateful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

College Memories

When my husband and I were first married, we were the beneficiaries of extreme generosity. His grandparents invited us to live in their basement apartment for free while we attended the nearby University. Their gift was a blessing to us in so many ways. We were able to get through college without having to take out student loans, we spent the first few years of our marriage living in an idyllic college town, and we had two of our favorite people living upstairs.

(Beautiful painting available at this gallery)

The apartment came furnished, and although the avocado green shag carpeting and orange floral wall paper would be considered retro & chic now, it wasn’t so in 1995. We painted, wall papered and made slip covers to cover the dated furniture. Before we moved in, Grandma Eddie had used the apartment living room as a quilting room and we would still find sewing needles and tacks from her quilting frames buried deep in the shag carpeting from time to time – ouch! We loved our first home together and remember those newlywed years with much fondness. When the time came for us to move on, we inherited my favorite chair from the basement apartment. The fabric was worn and dated, but it was comfortable and had always been my favorite spot to sit and read in front of the fireplace. I intended to have it reupholstered, but for years it sat forgotten, collecting dust and piled high with boxes in our basement. Last fall we finally got around to finishing our basement and during this process we purged ourselves of much of the clutter we had collected throughout the years. I didn’t know when I would ever get around to redoing the old chair, so one Saturday morning it was loaded up with a bunch of other castoffs and hauled off to the D.I. Gone for good, or so I thought.

Last week my husband and mother-in-law had a surprise for me.

I guess instead of hauling the chair off to the D.I. that Saturday, my husband took it to his parents’ house where he and his mom conspired to have it reupholstered for me. They picked out the fabric and hired someone to do the work. Such a thoughtful gift! Right now it is in my living room, by the window. Just walking past it makes me so happy. When I have a spare moment to stop and sit for a while I am overcome with gratitude. This is a gift I will especially treasure because it reminds me of so many other gifts in my life – my amazing husband, our generous families, and the best memories ever of our college years. Truly, they are the best.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Bliss

Just so pretty, I had to share. There is a lesser known canyon in the south/west corner of our valley that is absolutely breathtaking right now. Every fall we take a Sunday morning drive up this little canyon to admire the beautiful fall foliage. The leaves may not be changing down where we live, but autumn has arrived in full splendor up in the mountains. The top picture is from the same week last year, and the bottom two are from yesterday. Right now there is still a lot of green, so I think it will be beautiful for a few more weeks. If you know which canyon I'm talking about and are tempted to check it out, take a picnic - just over the top and down a little on the other side, there are some picnic areas. Beautiful!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pictures as Promised

We've been having problems with our IP & I have to say, one of the pros to being without the internet is I have been able to finish a few projects. The craft room is finally put together, or at least well enough to take a few pictures and share.

Here is the BEFORE, when it was a rarely used playroom (a dead zone)...
And here it is now...

Three projects I finished this week:
Words to live by...
Somewhere to display a few masterpieces...
A skirt to hide the inevitable clutter...
A project still on my to-do-list: a window valance out of this vintage pillowcase.

We use it all the time,which is why it took so long to take pictures - I had to clear the table off. I love finding my children sitting at the desk coloring pictures. The best part is that this transformation was very affordable. Most of the furniture pieces were ugly freebies we revamped with funky colored paint. I have a few more ideas in mind, but for now it's done!